Almost every one of us automatically thinks of carrot juice and good eyes when he hears "vitamin A". It is sometimes even touted as an "eye vitamin". So it's unfortunate that vitamin A is often underestimated, although it is responsible for much more functions in your body. In addition to strong eyes, for example, an active immune system, tight skin and a healthy functioning intestine are dependent on a sufficient vitamin A supply. Our article explains why this micronutrient is so important not only for chronic diseases, and how you can provide your body as well as your immune system perfectly.
Why do we need vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a real all-round talent, because it is an important supporter in many functions in our body. For example, it plays a central role in the cell growth and nervous system: Retinol not only ensures the preservation of healthy nerve cells in brain and spinal cord, but also the formation of red blood cells and strong bones. Especially in children, a sufficient vitamin A supply is therefore important.
But also our skin and mucous membranes in our digestive and airways require vitamin A to be able to build a healthy structure. It promotes cell growth and cell division and thereby helps the skin to heal itself. It also assists in the prevention of DNA damage. So if you want to catch a sunburn in the next holiday, your body-with enough vitamin A-is better prepared against it.
Did you know that Retinol is also important in the field of children's wish? It has a major influence on the hormonal balance because it is needed for the production of testosterone and oestrogen. This influences the sperm quality and the fallopian tubes, among other things. However, it is also frequently found in dietary supplements for pregnant women, because it is relevant to the development of embryonic nerve cells.
And, of course, as you've certainly already thought, we need vitamin A for our eyes and healthy vision. The adaptation of the eye to different light conditions and the processing of the light takes place in the chopsticks and pits. However, these can only produce the protein essential for this with vitamin A. That's why our vision is getting worse when we take too little vitamin A to us.
Vitamin A for your immune system
In order for the defenses in your body to be strong enough to avoid infection, a sufficient supply of vitamin A is of great importance. Because it is needed for many different immune functions:
The fact that it keeps skin and mucous membranes healthy already makes a large part of it. These are the first hurdles that viruses and bacteria have to overcome in order to be able to spread. Our intestine and also the airways are only resistant to pathogens, if sufficient of the so-called mucus (mucus) is produced, which contains antibacterial substances. And for that, it needs vitamin A.
Vitamin A is also relevant in other areas of our immune defense. For example, it supports the formation of certain antibodies, but also the development of anti-inflammatory immune cells. You may have heard of regulative T cells. You are responsible for the regulation of your immune system and can reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases or allergies. They too need vitamin A in order to grow.
How high is the need for vitamin A?
How much you actually need from this all-rounder-vitamin is dependent on various factors, such as your age, gender and living conditions. Men, for example, have a slightly higher need than women-but in general, one is from 0.8 mg to 1.1 mg per day in an adult. The exception here are pregnant women from the second trimester and in particular breastfeeding, whose daily requirements are between 1.2 mg and 1.5 mg.
Your need is also increasing in protein-rich nutrition, since vitamin A is needed for protein synthesis and fat metabolism. Even with increased stress or serious illnesses such as cancer or arthritis, it can quickly come to a deficiency, which has additional negative consequences for health.
Reasons and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency
It can come to an undersupply of your body with vitamin A for a variety of reasons. Particularly an unhealthy lifestyle, but also certain diseases and medications are crucial factors.
External influences besides stress are, among other things, smoking or frequent exposure of bad air and environmental toxins. Even if you drink alcohol on a regular basis, for example, vitamin A can not only be absorbed in a bad way, but can also be stored less. Strong sunlight, cholesterol-lowering medication, certain sleeping agents and estrogen preparations can also affect the utilization of the sun.
Diseases such as serious inflammation, diabetes or a thyroid overfunction are often triggers for a deficiency, because the body has a much higher demand in such cases. And people with impaired fat absorption, especially in the case of liver damage, are dependent on vitamin A supplementation.
You're probably wondering now where you should know if you have a vitamin A deficiency. First signs that speak are above all an increased susceptibility to infection and poor eyes. So, if you realize that your body is taking any virus, your eyes are suddenly more sensitive to light, or you develop a night blindness, you should make a blood picture. Likewise, dry skin, hair and eyes, as well as hair loss, are typical symptoms and may indicate a deficiency. If you're not sure, let's just check in, because a longer-term vitamin A deficiency can have serious consequences.
Food and food supplements
Vitamin A is only found in animal products. Foods with a high content are above all liver and sea fish. However, eggs and dairy products are also good suppliers. Of course you can eat green, yellow and red fruit and vegetables to supply your body with vitamin A, but then you need a little more. Because carrots, spinach, cherries and other herbal foods contain "only" beta carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, of which you have a need of at least 2 mg a day.
In order to simplify the overview a bit, we have here a few examples for you, which cover the daily requirement of vitamin A of an average adult (0.9 mg):
- 100 gr liver sausage
- 5-10 gr liver
- 400 gr Hähnchenbrust
- 100 gr Aal
- 200 gr tuna
- 300 gr Mozzarella
- 5-6 eggs
- 900 gr red paprika
- 400 gr Chicorée
- 300 gr field salad
- 250 gr Honigmelone
- 600 gr apricots
As you can see from this small table, it is more complicated for vegetarians and especially vegans to get to the recommended amount of vitamin A. The difficulty is, among other things, that we can better absorb beta-carotene from boiled vegetables than from raw-but the amount it contains can be lost by cooking up to 30%.
There are many delicious ways to provide your body with meatless food with sufficient vitamin A. For example, a crisp salad of spinach, kale and carrot pencils – drizzled with linseed and pumpkin seed oil. Or an exotic broccoli pepper pan fried in peanut oil. There are no limits to the imagination. However, if you have a vitamin A deficiency despite a healthy diet, it may be useful to cover your needs with a dietary supplement. E.g. with our Sanhelios Vitamin A plus Lutein.
We hope you liked our contribution to vitamin A and you could take a few tips on this great all-rounder for your immune system. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can always contact us via the comment function.
Until then, healthy greetings
Your Sanhelios team